Before I went to Kenya, I didn’t know that they had a tea-time. Yet, every project that we went to had a wonderful chai tea prepared for us, along with a great amount of food.

Kenyan chai tea is made with hot milk and water mixed together, and then one should add a tea bag as well as sugar. Chai tea from Kenya is one of the best things I have ever tried. I even bought some to enjoy here at home.

With one’s tea, you are also given a variety of foods. Here, on my plate you can see a hard-boiled egg, a cookie, and the yellow thing is a sweet potato. The white/purplish thing is something that tastes like soap. It’s bitter root and does have a name that I didn’t understand how to spell, pronounced ay-root. I didn’t take this again, but I can see how it would be very filling. Someone recommended putting some salt on it to make it taste better. It went down with the tea, but there was too much of that and not enough tea!

Unity

The best part of this day was meeting the staff of KE-200 in Embu, Kenya. From the center of the village in Embu, we traveled around 45 minutes along some very bumpy roads.

As we drove across a bridge I would have rather walked across, we looked down to see some boys washing in the creek. One of them was rather embarrassed and had nowhere to run or hide, so he just crossed his arms and stared up at us with a big smile on his face. I wondered what thoughts were going through his head. I go down to the river to wash as usual, and then, out of nowhere comes six vans filled with strangers from America! I thought that the smile was rather cute as it implied that he had a good sense of humor and kindness in his spirit. In general, I learned that the Kenyans are very happy to welcome you to their country.

In the same way that they are friendly, they will offer what they have – such as chai tea and food for you to eat – out of the little that they have, much is given.


As we started our day at KE-200, I found Pastor Hampton to be captivating in his sermon. He led us in the Word of God and discussed how we were to be unified. He wanted us to know that our American team was greatly appreciated and that he was so proud of all that we were helping them to do. Yet, our American Compassion group had so much respect for all the work that had been put into this community by a dedicated staff.

When some of us wondered why they would be so far out – these beautiful Kenyans answered in part of their speech – they wanted to serve where they were – this community that needed help.

I learned that Pastor Hampton had been a sponsored child himself. He was so proud to have come through so much, and he hoped that he could thank his sponsors one day. We happened to speak of age, and he knew that he was born in 1975, so he would be 37 years old now. His sponsors were from the United States and helped to get him through high school.  He graduated the Compassion program and lost touch with them.

Afterwards, he was able to attend college for 3 years, and became a pastor and returned to Embu to help influence his community. They would not have known that he went on to be a pastor or the impact that they had on him to inspire him to do so. To him, they meant so much.

We turned to what was now happening at this particular CDC (child development center). First, he wanted me to know of a woman that their church had stepped in to help.  I think that they had limited spaces for additional children at the center, so the church reached out to this woman and her twin children (a boy and a girl).

The woman is very poor and was not able to care for her children properly as a result of a mental illness impacting her health and livelihood, and it is because of this church that the family is doing much better than ever before.

Here, she’s pictured standing with some trees in the background. The one to the right is near some plants that she had planted with her own hands. She had a great smile on her face as she told me that she could see how these plants were growing and it gave her such joy to know that they were doing well. It was the first time that she had seen these little plants sprouting up before us, and it was her own hands that had lovingly placed them into the ground.

This garden spread for miles and had so many plants that were being used to feed the children. This is just one of the complementary intervention programs that was being implemented. Because the church was helping the community by having them to learn what plants will grow, many of these families have gone home and created their own “kitchen gardens” to use for their families.

In addition to the vast garden that had papaya, onions, tomatoes, cassava, and numerous other fruits and veggies that would help to feed this center’s some 200 children and teenagers, there are other Complementary Interventions.

For instance, the center worked with the government in order to establish a fish farming pond filled with Tilapia. First, they allow the fish to reproduce and become comfortable with the new setting before disturbing the environment to harvest them for food.

And, there are a few other things that these centers offer to help supplement what Compassion is already doing in the area of Embu, Kenya and for this particular center.

More soon!!!

 

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